by Dashiell Walranven
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Ilooked down the long road from the porch. The dust from the departing car had long since settled and the morning sun was growing warmer. My dog, a basset hound with large, baleful eyes, lay with his head resting on my bare feet. His expressive brows alternately raised and lowered as he looked toward the road, and back up to me, his tail giving a tentative wag when I looked down at him. I sighed heavily, my chin resting in the palm of one hand, the other tracing figure-eights in the dust on the steps.
There was no point in crying, even though that's all I wanted to do. My newest and best friend had gone back home. His parents had closed up their cabin for the winter, packed all their stuff and piled everybody back into the wagon and left with their memories of a long, hot summer of swimming, bicycle riding, the smell of hot charcoal and sweet corn on the cob. I didn't even look up at my Mom when she quietly slipped down to the step and draped a comforting arm around my shoulder. I leaned into her, and silent tears ran from the corners of my eyes. She said nothing, but I felt that she knew the empty hollowness echoing in my belly. She gently caressed my temple with her fingertips, occasionally running those wonderful nails of hers through my hair. When my tears had spent themselves, she pulled a hankie from her pocket; I whispered my thanks and started to mop up.
"Neal will be back next summer Oliver" she said, probably knowing just how little comfort her words brought, "You two became really great friends didn't you?" I nodded as I trumpeted the last of my boogers into the cloth and handed it to her. She accepted the sodden cloth with a pinched forefinger and thumb, and shook her head in bemusement. As smartas mother was, I don't think she truly understood my bond with Neal.
Over a period of six weeks, we had shared a multitude of summertime adventures. We cavorted through the summer with no thought of what would happen when it came time for him to return home. I had never connected with anybody the way Neal and I did, so I guess I had no clue how much it would hurt to see him go. Still, given my advanced age of twelve years at that point, I didn't indulge in deep thought on the state of my emotions, I just felt them, which was difficult enough.
The first night Neal had slept over at our house; he'd been duly impressed at the great log structure with its towering stone fireplace big enough to sleep in. When he saw my bedroom off the loft that spanned the second story and looked over the great room, the look of awe on this face charmed me in a way that I could never have described then. The cabin was not, in fact, very big, especially compared to the ones that have gone up around the lake lately. It was the main lodge of an encampment that had been built at the lake in 1911 by some filthy rich guy for his family summer retreat. It and most of the other cabins had been in my Dad's family for quite a while. In the summer of '68 we moved there permanently and never was there a better place for an adventure-loving, ten-year-old boy to live. I enjoyed two whole summers there until Neal came in 1970, and showed me what it meant to have a best friend.
My parents took an immediate shine to Neal. I even heard my mom whispering to my Dad one night by the fire, that she now knew why God hadn't given me a little brother or a sister, because I had been destined to meet my twin. I didn't understand then, because one could hardly have looked at the two of us and said we looked alike. We seemed to be genetic opposites; me with my gangly arms and legs, feathery red hair, a storm of freckles; and him, with his jet black hair, solid swimmer's build and dark brown eyes. Yet, people would ask us all the time if we were brothers. I guess some folks can sense when two boys have such a bond. Dad said we were like two peas in a pod, but Mom described us as jigsaw pieces, with no place to be other than fit to one another. As usual, Mom got it right. Now, Neal had left for his home, school and life beyond the lake and I was left feeling lonelier than I ever thought possible.
I got up from the porch and aimlessly wandered around to the back yard. Dad was mowing the lawn and would soon be raking up leaves as some of the trees were already turning. Forlornly, I gazed up the ladder to my tree house. I knew it would be hollow and empty without him being there, but I climbed up anyhow, closing the hatchway after me. I sat there for maybe an hour, thumbing through the two magazines we'd managed to swipe from his uncle's kit bag when he came to visit. We had both felt the weight of our multiple sins, stealing and then looking at, these magazines filled with provocative images and dirty words. We didn't know what it all meant, but it was thrilling nonetheless. When the evidence of our arousal pushed the front of our togs out, we play wrestled, grinding our fronts together, feeling the urgent steel of our members through the thin cloth. A breathless moment of quiet gasping would signal the end, we'd pull our tee-shirts out to cover the damp spot on our shorts and the magazines would be secreted away to await another days adventure.
The tree house echoed as my shoes scraped the wooden floor, what had been a place of secret and furtive exploration was suddenly lonely and bare. Sighing, I set about buttoning up the tree house. I lowered the plywood over the windows and cinched the latches with twine so they wouldn't blow open in the winter. I stowed the magazines on a shelf, where they would be fine until next summer, and stuck a rock on top of them. After stowing the sleeping bags back in the cabin, I climbed up one more time to sweep out the floor with a hand broom, and then shut the hatch for good and climbed down. Many weeks would pass before the snow flew, but there was no reason for me to go back up there until Neal returned.
Walking across the expanse of the back yard, a voice called to me from the distance, it was Garrett, the teen that lived up the road. My Dad had hired him to help him batten down the cabins and do some of the end-of-season yard work. His broad short-cropped hair and lantern jaw framed a bright smile, and he was working without his shirt. He rested a leather-gloved hand on my shoulder as I trudged up to him and he gave me a gentle squeeze.
"Hey Ollie, what're you lookin' so down for?" he asked. His voice had taken on a deeper timbre over the summer, and his warm tone soothed the frayed ends of my heart. Saying nothing, I suddenly gripped him around his waist as tightly as I could, more tears spilling from my eyes. He let the rake in his other hand fall to the ground and hoisted me up where I buried my face into his sweaty neck. He made comforting noises, patting my back and rubbing my neck and head with a rough glove that smelled of dead leaves and pine. He didn't say anything else; I figure he knew what was wrong. He'd seen me and Neal over the summer and he recognized our fast friendship and had even ribbed us about it a couple of times. "Tell you what," Garrett said firmly, finally setting me down. "I'm getting hungry and I packed a big lunch, what say we hike up to the old Indian cave and eat, just like old times?" I nodded my head and he took my hand as we walked over to his beat-up old Ford pickup. He told my father where we were going, and Dad thanked Garrett for seeing to me. Dad had marked my mood and I'm sure was grateful to be rid of his brooding son, brimming with half understood feelings, even if only for the afternoon. He was a great Dad and a sturdy father, but he really didn't deal with complex emotion very well.
Garrett boosted me into the passenger side of his truck and then circled around and got behind the massive wheel. The seat was musty and crinkly like freezer paper, with a sharp end of a broken spring threatening to tear through on my side. This was okay, because I leaned against Garrett's shoulder as we bounced over the dirt lake road to the cove. He hauled the colossal truck into the dirt lot at the cove was where the state beach and boat launch were. There was very little in the way of activity, most of the summer visitors had already gone. The only thing left were the state workers packing up the dock and padlocking the restrooms. On the other side of the parking area, a disused trail led into the woods and ascended up the side of one of the foothills that surround the lake.
Garrett slung his pack over his shoulder and we started the breathless climb to our secret spot, the Indian Cave. It took nearly an hour to get to the cave, which rested above a jutting rock near the summit of the hill. The terrain was rugged and sometimes slow going, but we doggedly grabbed at gnarled roots and scrambled up the hillside until we finally stood on the rock promontory overlooking the glittering lake.
A cool breeze lifted the hair from my brow and prickled my neck. I turned around to see that Garrett had already spread a warm blanket out across the rock, kicked off his boots and was taking off his briefs. I pulled my shirt over my head and lowered my shorts into a puddle around my ankles and stepped free. The warm air played like gentle fingers over my nakedness as I looked over to Garrett, who spread his arms to the sun and closed his eyes, breathing deeply. We ate a lunch of deviled ham sandwiches on white bread, potato chips and grape soda, while sprawled on the sun-drenched blanket.
As we dozed in postprandial contentment, my hand drifted to his middle and I let my fingers glide through the coarse hair. His penis responded to my light touch and I wrapped my hand around it. Lowering my mouth to him, I touched the velvety crown to my lips and drew him in. Gently, I nursed on his turgid member; it was a balm to the dreadful longing that had bruised my heart. After a while, the pain didn't seem quite as sharp, and my first time with Neal played out in my mind. I felt the palm of Garrett's hand caress my cheek and hair with a gentleness that belied his masculine frame as I suckled him. When he arched his back and whispered his warning to me, I didn't flinch. I stayed with him as he pulsed urgently into my mouth and pulled up fistfuls of the blanket. Afterwards, as I sat back against his broad torso, he gently grazed his fingers over my chest, neck and ears while rolling my little penis in his soft hand. As the sun started it's descent toward the opposite hills, I shuddered against him; crying out a high-pitched, breathy grunt while squirting my watery seed into his squeezing palm.
When we were done, we indulged in a satisfying piss from the ledge, got dressed and climbed back down to the truck. By the time we got back to my cabin, I realized I'd not spoken naught but three or four words to Garret the entire time.
"Sorry I've been so quiet Garret" I said to him as he pulled into the driveway. He looked down at me and flashed me his dazzling smile.
"You miss your buddy, don't you?" He tousled my hair, and left his arm draped around my shoulder as we rounded the circular driveway. Dad met us at the truck as I scrambled out. He and Garrett shared some hushed words as I walked up the steps and turned around on the porch to face them.
"Bye Garrett" I shouted back, waving, "Thanks for lunch." I saw Dad smile and give Garrett a grateful handshake and a sock to the shoulder. Garrett waved back at me, climbed in his truck and sped off down the driveway. Dad climbed the steps and ushered me into the house.
"Feeling a little better Champ?" he inquired.
"Yeah, I guess so," I replied, looking up at him. He patted me on the butt, kissed Mom on the cheek and settled back into his chair in front of the fireplace to read his paper. I grabbed a Hardy Boys book, sprawled on the rug before the fire and fell into the imaginary world of high adventure for the two mystery solving brothers. This time, I imagined Neal and me in their place.